5 things to know about the Philly Art Museum’s new director
3. Suda has a dog named Phil Collins, a point of contention with her husband who is a Peter Gabriel fan.
Suda and her family (a husband and two children) adopted a Portuguese Water Dog and named it after the leader of the band Genesis.
Collins, of course, had replaced the band’s original singer, Peter Gabriel, who left in 1975 to pursue a successful solo career.
“We had a little argument with my husband, who was a Peter Gabriel fan, which, you know, I still judge him to this day,” Suda said.
She could try to reform the group.
“We are looking to get a second dog and I may have to pay the price, and the next dog may be Peter Gabriel,” she said. “But we’ll see.”
4. Suda was a unionized museum worker and says she can negotiate terms out of court with the PMA union.
“I was a proud member of the union at the Art Gallery of Ontario,” said Suda, who previously worked as assistant curator, then curator of European art and curator of prints and drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto.
In his current position, the National Gallery of Canada has two unions: one for curators and another for wall-to-wall workers in many departments.
“We worked well together. It hasn’t always been easy. I think that’s the point,” Suda said. “It may not always be an easy conversation, but it is meant to be generative and productive and for the betterment of everyone who works at the Museum.
In 2020, workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art formed a union, but have yet to finalize their first contract. If negotiations are not concluded between the union and management before Suda becomes director this fall, the union will have gone more than two years without a contract.
She said she was looking forward to bargaining with the PMA union.
“The thing is, you can kind of push each other and make sure you get to the best place,” she said.
5. Suda plans to turn the Philadelphia Museum of Art “upside down.”
Suda’s predecessor at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Timothy Rub, led the institution for 13 years, during which time the museum underwent a massive physical reconstruction: a half-billion-dollar project with the architect Frank Gehry to rip the interior of the museum apart and sew everything together, creating an additional 90,000 square feet of underground space.
“It’s amazing. I feel so lucky to come on the heels of such a massive capital project,” Suda said. “It’s not just a big construction project, it’s it’s really about looking after the inside of a building and getting it ready for further expansion when we’re ready, and doing it in a beautiful way with a world-leading architect.”
Over the next two to three years, Suda said it will be committed to developing a culture of collaboration among workers internally and opening up to the community outside.
“To really invite all of Philadelphia to be part of this project with us,” she said. “There is this internal work, but I think it’s like turning the institution upside down, so that Philadelphia and the stakeholders for whom we exist, the communities for which we aspire to be part of this community, can help us, encourage us, help create this momentum.
Suda said she was particularly interested in building deeper relationships with area schools.
“Arts education is not something anyone can just assume their kids will get,” Suda said. “There is this incredible resource here, with this rich tradition of reaching out to school children. It’s something that I feel really passionate about about our future.
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